Calgary

Neighbour praised for spotting fire that displaced family of 3

A family of three luckily wasn't home when their basement caught fire but they won't be sleeping in their house tonight.

Man ran across the street to bang on door of smoking house

The family of three wasn't home when their basement caught fire Wednesday, the fire department says. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

A family of three luckily wasn't home when their basement caught fire.

But they won't be sleeping in their house tonight.

Flames and smoke filled the house on Kincora Park N.W. when Calgary firefighters arrived around noon Wednesday. They streamed into the yard, which still had a tree decked with Christmas tinsel, and entered the home.

The structure became unstable, however, and firefighters had to continue fighting the blaze from outside.

The fire was under control within an hour, Calgary Fire Department spokesperson Carol Henke told reporters on scene, but the house suffered significant damage.

"We are just incredibly thankful that the neighbour, who was on his game, noticed the smoke, immediately started knocking on the door to see if anyone was inside," Henke said.

The neighbour, who lives across the street, called 911. He also made sure the other neighbours knew about the fire and were able to evacuate their own homes, she said.

"So really quick action, quick thinking, and got us responding in a quick manner so that we could get here without the fire spreading to neighbouring homes," Henke said.

Carol Henke, public information officer for Calgary Fire Department, said the Kincora fire started in the basement and the entire home suffered smoke damage. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

The neighbour spotted smoke funnelling through the basement window, which suggests that the fire started on the lower level. A fire investigator was working to determine the exact cause, which Henke said was unlikely to be suspicious.

Henke said the basement was significantly damaged, the main floor suffered structural damage and the entire home has smoke damage.

Calgary Fire Department has asked anyone with photos, videos or information about the fire to send those to piofire@calgary.ca. Any information from before firefighters' arrival would be of particular interest to help determine cause and the exact origin of the fire.

With files from Justin Pennell

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